Gale has announced a new iPhone application to help people use library resources. Building off of the AccessMyLibrary identity that Gale has promoted publicly,the application does two things:
- detects physical library branches within a 10-mile radius of the user on demand
- and uses a web product to connect people to the Gale online resources that their local libraries subscribe to.
The app is downloadable from accessmylibrary.com or from the iTunes store.
I find it interesting that, once again, Gale beats EBSCO to the punch on a new technology. While EBSCO has EBSCOhost mobile, a mobile version of their interface (that your library needs to set up for it to be usable by your customers), it’s not a downloadable app (which is different).
I definitely have a preference for Gale online resources in general, for many reasons…title holdings, embargoes, better (though admittedly not great) user interfaces, and search relevancy ranking algorithms being a few of those reasons.
Offering something like this–especially if most of your online resources are Gale–is a huge boon for library users. Our databases are one of the last bastions of stinkiness in libraries’ attempt to make all of our services mobile. At our library, our catalog, website, eBooks, and ask-a-librarian service are all mobile-friendly. All of our databases? Not so much.
To me, this is yet another reason to go with Gale instead of EBSCO. Not because of this one application development. EBSCO can replicate that easily enough, and likely soon will. The real message is that Gale invests in development, is flexible institutionally to respond quickly to change, and monitors trends. That’s certainly a reason to choose one company over another, especially for such pricey decisions as our database purchases are.
Note: No, I am not on Gale’s payroll. My library doesn’t even subscribe to Gale products–we in fact switched, through a larger consortium, from Gale to EBSCO this past year. I can affirm that I am not being compensated for any of the above statements. I just honestly like Gale better.